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Page 1:
Performan
Tiger Heli
Slap Fight / ALCON

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Flying Shark / Hishouzame
Twin Cobra / Kyuukyoku Tiger
Truxton / Tatsujin

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Hellfire
Twin Hawk / Daisenpuu
Zero Wing

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Fire Shark
Out Zone
Vimana

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Dogyuun
Truxton 2 / Tatsujin Ou
Fixeight

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V-Five / Grind Stormer
Batsugun
Twin Cobra 2

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Dogyuun (ドギューン!!) - Arcade (1992)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

Dogyuun is one of Toaplan's best shooters. It features amazing graphics designed by Junya Inoue, who would later work for Cave, and a soundtrack by Tatsuya Uemura. Dogyuun's title comes from the sound the game makes on the title screen because no one could think of a better name, and legend has it that they were all drunk at the meeting to name it. Besides having some of the best graphics and sound of any Toaplan games, a very challenging game filled with huge bosses, long levels, insane weapons, and some very memorable moments, with ten levels in total.

One of Dogyuun's defining features is its two player mode. While most two player shoot-'em-ups are content to have two ships flying around, doing their own thing, Dogyuun adds a cool ability to combine the two player's ships into one powerful, super ship. Player one controls this super ship. If this super ship is hit, both players lose a life, are booted back to a checkpoint and must combine again if they want to make a super ship. This is risky, but your firepower is boosted to ridiculous levels.

Even in single player mode, Dogyuun is still incredible, and there really is a lot of stuff to blow up and a lot of ways to do it. As a change of pace, your default weapon is a powerful blue piercing laser that periodically grows and shrinks. Other weapons include a pink psycho laser that homes in on enemies, a red laser that bends to hit things in right angles, and a green multi laser that shoots two beams in front of the ship. None of these weapons can be upgraded, but they are all extremely powerful. You also get a bomb that obliterates all small enemies on screen and heavily damages most bosses.

Even with such impressive weaponry and a fun two player mode, Dogyuun is still quite difficult. Popcorn enemies flood the screen and shoot waves of bullets. Mini bosses usually show up more than once per stage. The bosses themselves are nightmares, usually taking up more than half of the screen. One of the coolest moments is when your ship hijacks a giant robot. Once this happens, you take control of it and Dogyuun unexpectedly turns into a crude overhead fighting game. Punching other giant robots is stupid fun, but you eventually eject and get back to blasting everything in sight with your lasers.

In general, Dogyuun is one of the best looking, best sounding, and best playing games Toaplan ever came out with. It never received a console port, or a release outside Japan for that matter, which is incredibly depressing.

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Dogyuun

Dogyuun


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Truxton 2 / Tatsujin Ou (達人王) - Arcade, FM Towns (1992)

Arcade Flyer

FM Towns Cover

Not very many people know that Truxton received a sequel. Truxton 2 has to be Toaplan's hardest shooter, and is somewhat forgotten due to being released only for Arcades and the obscure FM Towns. The FM Towns port is arcade perfect, as the two versions are nearly identical. Tatsujin Ou, Truxton 2's Japanese title, means Expert King and it ties into the advertising campaign that says, "Be a king rather than expert!"

One of the main issues in Truxton was its lack of backgrounds, since a good chunk of the game took place over starry backgrounds. Truxton 2 fixes this with stunning backdrops that use scaling to full effect. The enemy designs get an upgrade too, looking absolutely amazing for a game released in 1992. Indeed, the visuals are absolutely fantastic, iterating on some of the more interesting designs of the first game due to the more enhanced hardware.

The weapons have been changed around a bit. Your ship still has its standard Red spread shot, but when powerups are collected, the ship's options are the ones that get the power boost. The actual weapons and their corresponding colors are switched around a bit too. Blue is still homing lasers, but Green is now your wide shot. Red shoots huge explosions that are short range, but do lots of damage. Lastly, Truxton's skull bombs are even better than ever, now being a huge screaming face that travels across the screen, shooting lightning bolts horizontally.

Truxton 2, like the first one, has incredibly long levels filled with boss fights. A few memorable ones are a giant skull that vomits bats, a giant crab that can extend its neck like a giraffe, and a two headed robot moth that shoots lasers from its eyes. The popcorn enemies usually come in large groups and like to try to get up close to your ship or fire deluges of bullets everywhere. Truxton 2 is a long journey - a bit too long, actually - but being able to say that you have defeated Truxton 2 is an accomplishment. It also feels more modernized - while Truxton felt very similar to Twin Cobra and the likes, Truxton 2 is a much richer experience.

One interesting note is that Pipiru is very well hidden in this game. Near the end, in the level with the gigantic alien heads, Pipiru is imprisoned inside one of them. If you blow up the correct alien head, the little guy bursts out and showers you with powerups and bonus points as a reward.

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Truxton 2 (Arcade)

Truxton 2 (Arcade)


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Fixeight (フィグゼイト -地獄の英雄伝説-) - Arcade (1992)

Arcade Flyer

Fixeight is the sequel to Out Zone. It vastly improves on the original, and while it's still not technically a traditional shmup, it still has a lot in common with the look and feel of Toaplan's other games. Fixeight gets its name from a really bad play on words involving "fixate", and the eight playable characters, each with different weapons.

Howard Young

The game does not offer much information on Howard Young, other than the fact that he is fighting, even though he is sick with "space disease", as the game puts it. His weapons are a machine gun and a Peace Masher, which are really just the shoulder cannons from Out Zone. With the special powerup, he gains an ion laser that functions similar to the blue laser from Dogyuun.

Lucy Pamela

She is apparently the "Princess of Britain" in the future. Why she is fighting monsters and robots as a mercenary is not really clear. Lucy Pamela has the same weapons as Howard Young - a machine gun, Peace Masher, and ion laser.

GX 026

GX 026 is a robot that closely resembles Johnny 5 from the Short Circuit movies, or possibly the ROB peripheral for the NES. He is equipped with missiles that shoot in a V shape and can also fire streams of missiles that unload out of him in chains. It's more than a little strange that GX 26's missile chains are larger than his body, but it is best not to worry about this kind of stuff. His special weapon is a powerful rebound shot that launches balls that bounces around, causing havoc wherever they are unleashed.

Cull Horn

Cull Horn is a mercenary out for glory. He comes from West Africa and hopes to unite it some day. Cull Horn has a special gun that shoots behind and in front of him at the same time. This has to be one of the most powerful weapons in the game, as you can easily take out enemies without even aiming with this weapon, short range explosives, and something called a Tiltwait, which spreads screaming skull explosions similar to the ones found in Truxton 2.

Vistario

Vistario is a lizard-like alien that is a mercenary to try to get funding for a space restaurant. He seems to resemble an iguana and wears goofy looking shoulder pads. Vistario has a flame-thrower and a blaster that shoots very slow moving shots that linger once they hit something as his normal attacks. With a special powerup, he can gain a charge shot that spews acid all over everything.

H Ziguragi

A ninja that does not seem to use any sort of high tech weapons to defeat his opponents. His weapons include shuriken, a chained mace that comes right back to him after use, and can use a special ninjitsu to make shadow copies of himself.

Agatha Bordeaux

Agatha Bordeaux is an Italian supermodel that is also a mercenary for some inexplicable reason. Her weaponry includes a powerful napalm gun and cannons that shoot cool missiles that split up into homing missiles when fired. Her special attack is a flash mine, which explodes shortly after being shot and leaves a huge explosion where it detonated.

R Langelo

R Langelo is an alien with blue, translucent skin. He usually has two crystals following him around wherever he goes and can shoot lasers from his palms. According to the story, he wants to get into politics and become an ambassador.

Besides eight playable characters, Fixeight streamlines Out Zone's weapon system. Instead of picking up switch icons that come at seemingly random intervals, Fixeight introduces change tiles, which are flashing rainbow colored squares that a character can step on to shift from one weapon to the other. The tiles are also placed in strategic locations to reduce frustration in having the wrong gun at the wrong time. It makes Fixeight feel a lot more polished and play a lot more smoothly. The energy system in Out Zone is gone too, so you can blast away as much as you want without having to run away looking for energy powerups when low. Fixeight also adds a different kind of bomb, a more focused blast that only fires in front of you. It may not be suited for clearing out a scattered room full of enemies, but it's quite effective against bosses.

One last addition is the inclusion of hoverbike segments. These segments play more like a traditional shmup, but they're actually kind of dull and feel out of place. Sure, the battleship raid is sort of fun, but you never get any powerups and your hoverbike can only shoot in front of it. Luckily, there are only two hoverbike segments and they do not last too long.

The levels in Fixeight are also better than Out Zone, having much better pacing and lots of enemies to blow up. Even though there is slowdown, it is not as prevalent as it was before. The level designs themselves are also more creative, featuring many forked roads offering many choices and a memorable hall of buzzsaws. Part of the fun of Fixeight is seeing what the game is going to throw at you next. The very best part of Fixeight are its bosses. There are seven levels, all of them containing at least two major bad guys. Some of the best ones are a large computer that removes tiles on the floor and a gigantic skull with an electric brain sticking out of it that has a mace in its mouth.

Fixeight is a very challenging game that never feels cheap or unfair. It fixes every aspect of Out Zone that made it frustrating. Instead of respawning at a checkpoint, if you die, you respawn on the same screen, accompanied with a free bomb. You never have an energy bar to worry about, there are more playable characters, the levels are better designed and faster paced, and the bosses are even more impressive. Fixeight may be one of the most improved sequels Toaplan ever made.

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Fixeight

Fixeight

Fixeight

Fixeight

Fixeight


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<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Performan
Tiger Heli
Slap Fight / ALCON

Page 2:
Flying Shark / Hishouzame
Twin Cobra / Kyuukyoku Tiger
Truxton / Tatsujin

Page 3:
Hellfire
Twin Hawk / Daisenpuu
Zero Wing

Page 4:
Fire Shark
Out Zone
Vimana

Page 5:
Dogyuun
Truxton 2 / Tatsujin Ou
Fixeight

Page 6:
V-Five / Grind Stormer
Batsugun
Twin Cobra 2

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